Sunday, June 17, 2012


She is a heroine of a different generation and yet this month, so many celebrated her birthday as if she were still with us. She may have gone long ago; yet, she lives on, for her images just don’t seem to fade. In fact, every time an  unseen or unpublished image of hers is discovered, it makes it to the front page of almost all newspapers. The lady is Marilyn Monroe. Images are very powerful, they just live on and some even become iconic. The face of the Cuban revolutionary, Che Guevera, also being one such image. It’s not just a face. It symbolizes rebellion and freedom,  feelings that the youth just love. Put this face on any merchandise and it becomes a bestseller. The number of T-shirts  emblazoned with Che’s face that have been sold is incredible. It’s ironic that a revolutionary, who rebelled against the  capitalists, has today become the biggest bestseller of the capitalist world.   

That’s the power of these images. They  generate strong feelings. Another image that brings out strong reactions is the Swastika symbol of the Nazis. Recently,  Madonna used it during her tour in Israel. On a giant screen was shown an image of Marine Le Pen, who is the leader of  france’s National Front Party, with a Swastika on her forehead. The party was enraged and threatened to sue her.  Considering the fact that Madonna would be performing in France soon, this was a nice gimmick to get the nation talking  before she arrived! She is one of the few people who understand the power of images, of visual branding, and has used it  consistently over the years to keep her in the news and always ahead of competitors. Be it the cross of Jesus or the  Swastika of the Nazis, she knows how to use symbols to get people to notice her. 

It’s also the oldest trick of brand  building.   It’s also the oldest trick of brand building. Brands have used symbols (logos) to distinguish themselves from  competitors and build a unique identity around them. Associating oneself with a unique symbol makes it easy for  consumers to remember you. So on Marilyn Monroe’s birthday, Lady Gaga tweeted a picture of hers dressed as Monroe,  and more than one lakh of her followers (all in the age group of 14-19 years) liked it. The interesting part is neither Gaga  or her fans belong to Monroe’s generation and the only reason they are her fans is because of the ‘images’ they see of  her. These stunning images are the reasons for having ensured that ‘brand Marilyn Monroe’ will never die. And images  re the reasons that will ensure that your brand lives on in the future.

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